CHAN organisers bullish despite Eldoret Stadium falling short

Uasin Gishu County Chief Officer of Sports, Eunice Kerich (2nd right) addresses the CAF inspection ...
Uasin Gishu County Chief Officer of Sports, Eunice Kerich (2nd right) addresses the CAF inspection team as the CHAN 2018 Deputy CEO, Herbert Mwachiro (3rd right) and officials from the continental body look on at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. PHOTO/Cyrus Sholim

Organisers of the 2018 Africa Home Nations Championships (CHAN) are optimistic they will overcome challenges facing venues to host a successful tournament even as the Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret became the second designated facility to fall short of the required standards.

After delivering a withering assessment of Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium on Monday, the CAF inspection team landed in Eldoret on Tuesday and judging by the harsh questions they posed to facility managers, chances of Kipchoge Keino staging matches of the second tier tournament appear minimal.

However, it was not all gloom as the inspectors led by CAF Director of CHAN, Egyptian Mohamed Khalid Amin El Shawarby, applauded the hospitality industry and the ease of movement from Eldoret International Airport.

Local Organising Committee 2018 CHAN Deputy CEO and Event Director, Herbert Mwachiro, confirmed the inspectors who once again did not address reporters had expressed reservations with the venue but pleased with other amenities.

“We are also looking at hotels, training grounds and hospitals. They are quite satisfied with the airport because it is one of the key things. They will avoid a situation like Rwanda where they were travelling over 250km from one venue to another.

“Eldoret Airport provides a gateway to Uasin Gishu and when teams and officials need to travel from Nairobi, they can fly,” Mwachiro stated.

“Our challenge has been facilities. The commitment from the national Government and the federation is to ensure we overcome these challenges. It’s been a while before Kenya hosted such a big event.

“We need to be together with the first families of football in this continent that can host big events.

“We shall successfully host CHAN, we will look forward to other events such as the Africa Women Cup of Nations, the Under 17 and Under 20 championships and who knows, we can bring the World Under-17 event here.

“Our goal is to eventually bring the Africa Cup of Nations here,” the optimistic Mwachiro told reporters.

-Concern areas-

Among the areas of concern to the inspectors was the number of entrances to the Kip Keino Stadium, availability of IT cables, sitting capacity of the VIP section, CCTV cameras as well as the availability of dressing rooms fitted with hot and cold water.

According to the Chief Officer of Sports at the County Government of Uasin Gishu, Eunice Kerich, the local administration has commissioned a contractor who is expected to complete works on the facility before the lapse of the six-month deadline set to be ready for CHAN games.

“We are honoured by the choice to host CHAN 2018 games and we are determined to deliver the requirements they want, one is the Kipchoge Keino Stadium. The contractor said he was mobilising resources and we shall put pressure on him since this is the determinant whether we shall host the CHAN on not.

“The rest of the facilities are okay and we are asking CAF and Football Kenya Federation to assist us with the expertise required to ensure we are ready,” the County Sports boss emphasised.

The CAF inspection team will move to Machakos on Wednesday and Meru a day later to assess their stadiums earmarked for the CHAN before returning to Nairobi on Friday where the continental body’s First Vice-president, Sukeru Patel from Seychelles is expect to deliver a general report.

Ethiopia and Morocco are waiting in the wings should Kenya fail to convince CAF of her ability to hold the biennial tournament open to players plying their trade in domestic leagues.

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Story By Cyrus Sholim
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